My Story

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“What do you wash your face with? It looks so fresh.” And the reply was, “I wash it with clear water, God does the rest”.

***

I thought I should start this column today with something amusing, or maybe inspiring, although I can no longer remember where I first heard that exchange of conversation. I am sure it did not come from the late popular actress, known for her exquisite complexion and beauty, that was the envy, even of other Hollywood stars. I guess the present generation have not even heard of Grace Kelly, one of the most beautiful women to join the ranks of Hollywood actress, although she didn’t have to.

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What I recall from my readings about her in the movie magazines my mother was fond of – though she seldom went to a movie – was that she was the daughter of a millionaire, and later caught the eye of the Prince of Monaco and became known as Princess Grace. And I recall it was not one of those so-called “arranged marriages”, because the prince himself was rich and handsome, so it was a love match that had us teenagers then swooning and rushing to buy every magazine that featured them for our scrapbooks.

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As an actress, a very good one, too, she was also sought after as endorser of all kinds of beauty products, which probably added to her wealth. An incident I remember very well was when one time, she was at the airport about to leave for another city, when a female reporter approached her and scrutinizing her perfect glowing skin, asked her: “Is it true that you use Lux soup for your face?” Without blinking, she reportedly replied “No soap of any kind, Lux or otherwise, ever touches my face!”

***

Later that created a lot of fuss in the the media because she apparently had forgotten that among the products she had been endorsing was that very soap,’ I heard later that she was embarrassed and made up with the Lux producers, but what could they do? Would they have sued her for the disclaimer when she was virtually the queen of Hollywood at her time? But she was a very practical and daring woman, and loved to drive herself wherever she wanted, and it was in a car accident that she met her death! I admit that my contemporaries and I mourned for her as if we had known her personally.

***

Of course my own mother was born long before the time of Grace Kelly but she was also known for her beautiful, clear skin, that didn’t show a wrinkle up to the day she died. Although she was “kayumanggi”, or morena in color, many envied her for that. And that was what she also taught us, my late sister Perla and me: Never to use soap on our faces. Well, when we become professionals and started wearing make-up, we used either baby oil or cleansing cream to clean our faces, but never, never soap.

***

But me, I was disobedient and loved to stay under the sun , and ever insisted on joining the class volleyball team, hence the freckles. And being on the team was no compensation because I was only included by tolerance, since I could hardly serve the ball over the net, nor stop it when it came directly at me. Which was why I got the monicker “Butterfinger”, which I didn’t mind, since there was a chocolate candy with that name which I loved. But that was the end of my sporting ambitions.

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I bet some readers must be wondering why I suddenly focused on myself in this one. Well, after my seventh month in isolation, a.k.a. quarantine, staying alone in my newly put together ground floor quarters, hastily put up by my loving brother Pros, or Enggol, who is an architect, I have quite adopted to working at home, writing this, and editing all the articles from the DAILY STAR office that are delivered to me at night. Of course TV, that I seldom watched for long before, not only entertains me, but supplies me with topics to discuss.

***

And that is the story of my COVID prevention life. Oh, my nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers and in-laws and friends ply me with fruits and sweets and all kinds of delicacies, so I now weigh myself as often as I can to avoid you-know-what. And sorry if I bored you dear reader, I promise not to do this to you again. Meanwhile, let us not forget to pray for one another for protection against this virus from China, even if we cannot do our praying in church nowadays. God is everywhere, He will still listen to us, sinners though we are! Amen.*

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